NUCA MMA will be Fantastic for the sport of MMA - an interview with coach Owen Roddy.

At the forefront of the NUCA MMA team is internationally acclaimed MMA coach; Owen Roddy. Coach Roddy commands great respect in the MMA community not only for having been a gifted competitor himself, but more recently for being an integral part of Conor McGregor becoming a two time UFC Champion.

In recent years Coach Roddy has also been an owner and coach at ‘Straight Blast Gym’ (SBG) in Dublin, Ireland. Working on a daily basis with MMA athletes of different ages and skill sets, Coach Roddy has developed a fine understanding of what it takes to practice MMA, and this is especially important for us at the collegiate level.

We recently sat down with coach Roddy to get his insights on College MMA and NUCA, here’s what he had to say:

Why Do you think NUCA MMA will benefit young MMA athletes?

I think NUCA MMA will provide young mma athletes with the opportunity to train at a fantastic level with amazing facilities. It will also allow them to create a safety net for themselves by empowering them to get an education that will provide a career for them whenever they decide to end their mma pursuits.

I`m incredibly excited as a coach and someone highly involved in mma that the upcoming generation can fully pursue their dreams of becoming an mma fighters while also getting an education. I hope many of the student-athletes will go on to work within the mma industry to improve all aspects of the game worldwide.

What was available when you were a younger athlete?

Nothing. When I first started out in MMA there wasn’t even a clear pathway to becoming a professional in this Sport. Now that has changed but when I was first starting I had to give up my job, really give up everything to try become an *mma athlete. Looking back at it, it was huge risk.

We had very poor facilities and no professionally run companies organising fights. There was really nobody doing it in the country, people thought I was a WWE wrestler, it was unheard of.

In regards to medical services we literally had none, we turned up and the doctor asked if we were okay … we said we were and off we went.

Even at the peak of my career I really had no backup plan available to me. I put all my eggs into my own basket I just believed I was better than most people in my bracket. I thought maybe I could run a gym to make a living and luckily that’s what I did but if I had been injured and couldn’t teach my classes I really had no back up. I have no higher education and that made it a bigger risk, for me it was just a love of the sport that drove me.

What does it take to become an MMA athlete?

Dedication. To compete at the highest level, like any sport, it must become your main goal and everything else takes the second place. In this game you will fail more than you succeed but if you keep pushing forward you will eventually get to where you want. Making education an equal priority will be another challenge for NUCA MMA student-athletes, but it`s one I’m sure they will be up for as the rewards of education will stand to you for the rest of your life.

MMA requires an extremely high level of commitment, especially to become the best, NUCA MMA will be no different.

What do you think NUCA MMA will do for the future of MMA

NUCA MMA will be fantastic for the the sport of MMA, It will help bring the sport to new audiences and show kids from an early age there really is a future in MMA, hopefully helping to increase participation in MMA at a younger age. I believe our added safety measures and elimination of weight cutting will allow our athletes to relax and focus on the technical aspects of mma, this will all have a positive effect on the sport as a whole.

I love how NUCA MMA will change and improve not only the standard of athlete but also the actual infrastructure surrounding mma. Our athlete’s will improve massively in their skill level by being able to compete numerous times as an amateur without affecting a professional record.

Add to this the fact that the athletes will have the opportunity to excel as students too. Often times pursuing mma can mean sacrificing things like education, with NUCA MMA that is now no longer the case. These student-athletes will become an mma generation capable to contributing to all aspects of the sport, from business to management and so much more.

Why do you believe in this project

I believe in this project because it gives mixed martial artist’s opportunities outside of mma.

As a coach, being able to offer this opportunity is amazing. Athletes in other sports have had the chance to compete in the sport they love and get an education for a long time in America, now we can provide that for mma. We’re paving the way for kids to follow their dreams while also gaining an education, that’s amazing to me.

I will always tell people to follow their dreams but you must have a backup plan. Many times, athletes at the highest level who are just about to break through have gotten injured and not made it. They have been left working in very low paying jobs so having something like NUCA MMA will help these athletes chase their dreams while also giving them that second option. This is something I am very proud of and delighted to be a part of.

I believe in the concept and I certainly believe in combing mma and education together.

What mma career opportunities do athletes have outside of being a professional athlete?

Really, there is very little. For a small number of people there may be a chance to start a gym or work for the UFC or its competitors on the business side or in commentary, but it really is a very small percentage of ex-athletes who get the chance to continue to work and have a career within the mma industry.

Despite some great work by some professional and amateur mma organizations, mma still isn’t getting the opportunity or recognition it deserves. We know mma is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and we know its not going anywhere. This is why NUCA MMA is so important as it will help create that opportunity. It will help with the youth participation, it will help grow the amateur level and it will help the professional level with both athletes and business professionals.

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